The 10 Best Bass Guitars for Slap (2024)

Slapping a bassline is one of the most satisfying playing styles that every bass player dreams of. It sounds genuinely fantastic when done right, but it can be pretty challenging. Although you can slap on any bass guitar with the proper technique, some bass guitars are better suited for the style.

My top pick, if you want an amazing bass guitar for slapping, is the Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass, as it is well-suited for the slap tone with good pickups and a smooth, fast-action neck for comfortable playing.

My pick for tighter budgets is again from the same brand, the Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass, which has fantastic value for this price range.

The Best Bass Guitars for Slap (2024) – At a Glance

And now onto the full list:

1. Squier Classic Vibe '60s Jazz Bass

Top Pick
Top-tier bass both for slapping and fingerpicking.
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The Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass is the Chinese remake of the authentic 60’s Fender Jazz Bass. The Jazz Bass is one of the most desired bass guitars around with its warm and articulate tone as well as its great playability. And the Squier version does not fall short.


  • Comfortable neck and great playability
  • Dual single-coil Fender Alnico Pickups
  • Classic offset-waist body
  • Great value for the price


  • Not much!

The bass features a solid poplar classic offset-waist body, smooth fast-action bolt-on maple neck, with a 34” scale Indian laurel fingerboard. It is equipped with two great vintage Fender-designed Alnico II single-coil pickups with their individual volume controls.

The pickups provide an expressive and crisp tone which is great for slapping, and the C-shaped neck is highly comfortable to use the technique properly without succumbing to fatigue. The individual tone controls are also there to give you control over the dynamic balance to adjust the frequency band for your slapping.

Pickups SS, Fender Vintage Alnico Single Coil
Strings0.45 – 0.105 Medium Gauge Strings
Frets 20, Medium Jumbo
Neck & Scale Maple, 34″ (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingLow Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

In short, Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass is a great choice for slap and pop style of playing. It does not matter the genre you play, and this guitar will get the job done for a surprisingly low price.

2. Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass

Budget Pick
Affordable bass for slap-style playing.
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The Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass is one of the most affordable bass guitars that Fender offers. It features a great value-for-price ratio with dual Ceramic Jazz Single-coil pickups that deliver a satisfying tone with enough brightness and crispiness for slaps, along with the comfortable C-shaped maple neck with laurel fingerboard.


  • Comfortable neck and great playability
  • Low-action
  • Great value for the price


  • Electronics

The guitar comes with a low-action setting and a professional setup to get you started immediately. It is equipped with round wound medium gauge nickel-plated steel (0.045 – 0.105) strings suitable for popping.

The electronics on the guitar feel a bit cheap and do not provide you with enough dynamic versatility. The pickups are good for the price, but for a better sound, you may think of upgrading them to Fender Alnico pickups for a better slap tone.

Pickups SS, Ceramic Jazz Single-coil
Strings Nickel Plated Steel, 0.45 – 0.105
Frets 20, Narrow Tall
Neck & Scale Maple, 34″ (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingLow Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

Overall, the Squier Affinity Series Jazz Bass is a bass that is hard to beat in its price range. If you are a beginner and looking for an affordable guitar to learn and master slapping-style playing, this bass is the way to go.

3. Fender Flea Jazz Bass

Pro Pick
Pro-grade, Flea Signature bass with great sound, made for slap.
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The Fender Flea Signature Jazz Bass is a premium choice with a hefty price tag but well worth the purchase. The Shell Pink, Road Worn aesthetic is quite unique and gives off that striking stage presence that many bassists are after.


  • C-shaped neck, comfortable
  • Road Worn design, very aesthetic
  • Vintage-style bridge and pickups deliver amazing sound
  • Superb build quality


  • Pricey bass
  • High action needs adjustment

Modeled after Flea’s ’61 Jazz Bass, I can fully understand the appeal of this bass, and for good reason. The value you get from this premium jazz bass is incredible. With two vintage ’64 J Bass pickups and the vintage-style bridge, the sound quality is staggering. Unfortunately, the factory neck action is a bit too high so you will need a proper setup adjustment right from the get-go.

Pickups 2 x ’64 J Bass Single-coil
Strings Fender USA NPS .045-.105
Frets 20, Medium
Neck & Scale Maple & 34″ (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingHigh Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

Overall, if you want style paired with amazing sound capabilities, the Fender Flea Jazz Bass will certainly not disappoint. If you have the budget, this will be a well-made purchase that will serve for progression and longevity.

4. Music Man Sterling StingRay

Quality Humbucker Bass
Great affordable bass designed for slapping.
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When it comes to slap-style playing, one of the first basses that come to mind is Music Man Sterling StingRay. It is the more affordable version of the original Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray, used by great slappers like Flea and Louis Johnson.


  • Active humbucker pickups
  • The hard maple neck is good for slapping
  • Good quality construction specially designed for slapping
  • Great tones and looks


  • Stock strings are not great

Designed for slap-style playing, the bass guitar features a 6-bolt neck for more stability, a hard maple neck for more comfortable slapping, an active humbucker pickup that provides a thick and funky tone, a 3+1 tuning key arrangement for better tuning stability, and a custom-designed powered preamp to take control over your tone.

Pickups H, 1 Ceramic Humbucker
Strings Nickel Plated Steel, 0.45 – 0.105
Frets 21, Medium
Neck & Scale Hard Maple & 34″ (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingLow Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

The only concern is the strings that the guitar is equipped with, but you can change them with better ones immediately after purchasing. Besides that, Music Man Sterling StingRay has everything to get you going for a slapping journey for a truly affordable price.

5. Ibanez Standard SR400EQM Bass

Comfortable, Versatile
Lightweight and comfortable bass for slapping.
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The high-end SR series basses of Ibanez are some of the top-notch products in the bass guitar world. But, if you want similar quality without breaking the bank, Ibanez offers Ibanez Standard SR400EQM Bass, which features a 5-piece maple neck with rosewood fretboard, 2 PowerSpan humbucker pickups, a thin, and lightweight design, and active electronics with a 3-band EQ to shape your tone.


  • 5-piece maple neck
  • 2 Great humbucker pickups
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Active electronic with 3-band EQ


  • The thin neck might not be for everyone

The instrument’s thin 5-piece maple neck makes the slaps and pop highly comfortable, fast, and great-sounding, while the humbuckers provide a warm and versatile tone that you can shape with the active electronic controls as you like. Although the thin neck makes the guitar lightweight and fast to play up and down, some people might prefer chunkier necks.

Pickups 2 PowerSpan Dual Coil pickups
Strings D’Addario EXL165 0.045 – 0.105
Frets 24, Medium 
Scale 34″ (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingLow Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

In short, if you want an intermediate-level, versatile, comfortable bass for slaps and pops, Ibanez SR440EQM has premium quality SR basses for an affordable price which you can choose without hesitation.

6. Jackson JS3 Spectra Bass

Simple, aesthetic, Jackson-quality bass with good electronics and playability.
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The Jackson Spectra JS3 values function over looks. Despite its simplistic design, the aesthetic black color is still pretty striking and if you like no-frills bass guitars like myself, this is a top choice. It is well-built and sounds excellent, especially for the given price.


  • Affordable bass guitar
  • Comfortable playability
  • Rugged build quality and great electronics
  • Active and Passive mode


  • Not as versatile as other entries on this list
  • The tone does not match up with higher-end options
  • Plastic nut material

The shining star of this bass is the build quality. The JS3 Spectra features a Poplar body with a gloss finish, a Maple neck, and a Laurel fingerboard, however, the plastic nut material might be a letdown for some. Granted, the price is still fair so there are bound to be a few drawbacks.

It features switchable active and passive modes and the electronics are divine. You can easily fine-shape your tone and due to the comfortable playability, slapping is relatively easy and attainable.

Pickups 2 x Active Humbucking Pickups
Strings 0.45 – 0.100 Medium Gauge Strings
Frets 24 Medium Jumbo Frets
Scale 34 ” (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingDual-action truss rod setting, headstock access

All in all, if you want a budget-friendly, no-frills bass that still looks quite good despite its simplistic design, the Jackson Spectra JS3 is a solid choice that features good build quality, good playability, and great electronics.

7. Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 Bass

Well-balanced, comfortable bass with dynamic tones for slap.
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The Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 is a well-balanced, good-quality bass guitar for slapping. It features a responsive EQ which you can use to pump out some vibrant and very dynamic tones. Apart from all that, it’s great to play right out of the box.


  • Great EQ controls
  • 2 Schecter Diamond humbuckers for amazing tones
  • Very comfortable body
  • Durable build quality


  • Takes some getting used to
  • Not a very noticeable difference between pickups

This bass has a very stunning look, with a black cherry color and a gloss finish. The body is Mahogany, with Figured Maple Wings, and it has a bolt-on Maple neck. In addition to the Rosewood fingerboard, it has a Diamond Bass bridge, making playability its strong suit.

Granted, the controls do take some getting used to but the comfortable body and durable build will make up for this. The biggest letdown might be the very unnoticeable difference between the pickups as you’d expect some change and variety.

Pickups 2 x Schecter Diamond Humbucking Pickups
Strings 0.45 – 0.105 Ernie Ball
Frets 24 X-Jumbo Frets
Scale 34 ” (864 mm)
Low-Action SettingAdjustable action with truss rod

Overall, the Schecter Stiletto Extreme 4 is a good-quality, well-rounded bass for either conventional or slap-style bass-playing. With good build quality and solid quality in general, you’re looking at a top contender that ticks all the boxes.

8. Warwick Rockbass Corvette 5

5-String Bass
Premium quality 5-string bass for slap and heavier playing styles.
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The Warwick Rockbass Corvette 5 is a great 5-string bass suitable for different genres and playing styles. It features a swamp ash body, a 3-piece maple neck, a Rosewood fretboard, and two passive MEC MM pickups, which provide high playing comfort along with versatile tones whether you play a funky slap solo or rock and modern progressive styles.


  • High-level build quality
  • Great and versatile tone palette
  • Multi-scale instrument
  • Very clear-sounding low-B string


  • Narrow spacing between strings
  • No inlays on the fretboard

The multi-scale design with different scale lengths on different strings improves the intonation while providing a highly comfortable playing experience. The extra B string also sounds quite clear compared to other 5-string basses in the price range.

Tapping and popping are a bit more challenging on 5-string basses as the strings are located closer to each other. So, you will have to be more accurate with your right-hand movements. Another difficulty may be navigating through the fretboard without inlay dots. But, if you are not an absolute beginner, you will get used to it pretty quickly.

Pickups 2 MEC Dynamic Correction Jazz pickups 
Strings Warwick RED Strings 0.045″ – 0.135″
Frets 24 extra high jumbo nickel silver frets
Scale Maple with Ekanga veneer stripes, 34”(864 mm) to 35.5” scale
Low-Action SettingVery Low Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

Overall, the Warwick Rockbass Corvette 5 is a great bass if you are looking for a versatile 5-string bass for playing slaps, pops, and taps, as well as heavier and more modern tones.

9. Yamaha TRBX304

Affordable, Well-made
Modestly-priced and quality-built bass for slap and other styles.
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The Yamaha TRBX304 is an affordable entry but a good one at that. Despite its fairly modest price tag, this bass sports a quality build and delivers when it comes to sound. Due to the cutaway design, the comfort and stability you get is ideal for slapping.


  • Durable and stable bass
  • Modest price
  • Good sound quality
  • Performance switch for easy dialed-in sound


  • Bolt-on neck
  • Factory string might need replacing

In terms of playability, the TRBX304 is quite comfortable and versatile to dabble in many different styles, not just for slapping. The fast-action, 5-piece maple/mahogany neck is terrific, however, I don’t particularly like the bolt-on design. On the up-side, the 5-way performance EQ switch is a great addition to dial in a tone you prefer, for whatever genre you want to play.

Pickups 2 x M3 Ceramic Dual-coil
Strings D’Addario EXL .045-.100
Frets 24, Medium
Scale 5-piece Maple/Mahogany, 34”(864 mm) scale
Low-Action SettingFast Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

All in all, for the given price, you get a very well-made and sturdy bass, suitable for beginners and intermediates, for slap, and lots of different styles and genres. If you want quality on a budget, this is a top consideration.

10. Fender Player Jazz Bass

Durable, great-sounding Fender bass for slap and players of all skill levels.
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The Fender Player Jazz Bass is a classic for a reason. This well-built, quality bass has been a go-to for many bass players, not just for slap, but in general. An aesthetic design, good sound, durable build, what’s not to like?


  • Suitable for beginners and advanced players
  • Versatile bass
  • Durable build quality
  • Slim, fast-action C-profile


  • A bit pricey
  • Factory action may need adjustment

This bass is your regular classic J Bass but with Player Series upgrades. The overall design with the offset waist provides superb comfort for playing and the slim, fast-action C-profile maple neck is the bread and butter. The action might be too high from the start but nothing a few truss rod adjustments can’t fix. In addition to all of this, the overall classic design makes it suitable for players of all skill levels.

Pickups 2 x Player Series Alnico 5 Jazz Single-coil
Strings Fender NPS .045-.105
Frets 20, Medium Jumbo
Scale Maple, Modern C, 34”(864 mm) scale
Low-Action SettingSlim, Fast Action, adjustment with bridge saddles or with truss rod on the head

If you want a classic bass that will not budge under pressure, made with longevity in mind, the Fender Player Series Jazz Bass is the way to go!

What is the slap bass technique?

The slap technique is just what the name suggests. With this technique, bassists slap the strings instead of picking or plucking them to get a distinct percussive sound. 

The slap technique is commonly done with the thumb’s knuckle, where it is hard and bony by quickly striking the string against the fretboard.

The pop technique is similar; however, it is done by plucking and releasing the strings so hard that the string snaps back to the guitar and creates a smacking sound.

Is slapping bass difficult to do?

Slapping is considered an intermediate-level technique. It is not the best idea to try slapping before playing the bass decently. So, it would be best if you gave yourself a bit of time for practice to master fundamental bass guitar techniques before attempting to slap your way down the fretboard.

If you are already a decent player, slapping shouldn’t be very hard to learn. With a bit of practice and going step by step, learning the technique slowly and thoroughly, you can start slapping and popping some of the easy songs, like the ones of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Can you slap on any bass guitar?

Although you can slap on any bass guitar, even on some acoustic guitars, there are some basses on which you can slap easier, and some make it extremely difficult such as semi-acoustic basses. Many different aspects affect the slapping comfort, such as the number of strings, the spacing between the strings, neck shape, and material, length of the scale, etc.

Luckily, there are many basses designed explicitly for the slap and pop techniques, some of which were explained in this article. You should look for bass guitars similar to the jazz bass of Marcus Miller or the Stingray bass of Flea.

The most important factors here are the long scale length to give you enough space for your slapping hand, enough space between the strings to pluck them easier for the popping technique, and lighter strings for better-sounding and easier slaps. Finally, the ability to adjust the string action to a low degree is crucial, so you do not have to slap with high power.

How do you get a better slap sound on bass?

Before discussing the optimal conditions for a great slap bass tone, I must say the most significant factor here is the player’s technique. You may have the highest quality gear perfectly ideal for the slap bass tone, but with poor technique, you can not get the slap sound you desire.

That aside, the tone quality of pops and slaps heavily depends on many factors such as the pickups, fretboard material, string type and gauge, and action setup. Also, the amp and the amp settings play a crucial role too.

A good slap tone should be crisp, round, and aggressive, with the higher and lower-end frequencies boosted and the mids scooped. To get to this tone, you will need to check several factors.

The most suitable pickups for slapping are active pickups as they provide an aggressive, spanky, and bright tone which is perfect for slapping. However, they are prone to feedback, so you must be careful with them. The passive pickups sound warmer; however, they do not feature the bright highs active pickups have. But with the help of an equalizer, you can turn things around.

The harder the fretboard is, the better the slapping tone will be. Hard maple and rosewood are good choices to get a brighter slap tone.

Your string gauge choice should be lighter so you can slap using less force. Plus, the type of strings also affects the tone. Here, the optimal choice is roundwound stainless steel strings instead of flatwound nickel strings, as the first choice has a brighter and spanker sound. Furthermore, you should change your strings frequently to catch a better slap tone.

Finally, the action setup is another important factor. You should set your action as low as possible, so it gets easier to slap and pop. The action here means the distance between the strings and the fretboard. So, the shorter the distance, the easier to smack the strings to the fretboard, and the better sounds you get.

Does slapping damage your bass guitar?

As with many cases in different instruments and techniques, if you have the proper technique, there is no risk for your instrument. However, if you are doing the slaps and pops wrong and beating your bass too hard while you slap, then there might be a risk.

This is one of the reasons you should learn and master the technique slowly and patiently, so you do not waste your instrument. You might damage your frets and the finish of your instruments if you do it too hard. Plus, a lousy slap technique not only damages the instrument but also damages the ears of the listeners.


Slapping and popping are some of the coolest and most fun techniques when playing the bass. Almost every bassist dreams of playing and sounding like the legends Marcus Miller, Flea, and Larry Graham, slapping and popping the hell out of their basses with crisp and aggressive funky tones.

For this playing style, having a slap-bass style instrument will help immensely. My top slap-bass pick is Squier Classic Vibe ’60s Jazz Bass, as it is affordable and specially designed for this slap-style playing.

If you want an instrument even more affordable, you can also go with another Squier series bass called the Affinity Series Jazz Bass to learn and master the slap style playing.

Milan Trajkovikj

Milan Trajkovikj

I’m the Deputy Editor for Musician Wave and a touring and recording bass guitarist. I love to share my passion for all things music. I’ve been playing music for over ten years and I love exploring it further through writing. You'll also find me on the Musician Wave YouTube channel.

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